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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: Leechtastic!

There’s a catchy headline for you.  Scholar Denies Oral Roots of Fairy Tales: Traditional view that fairy tales were handed down via folk traditions has ‘no basis in verifiable fact’.  It’s oral storytelling vs. print in a fight to the finish!  Fairy Tales: A New History by Ruth B. Bottigheimer is making the claim that there is no reason to belive that peasants invented tales and passed them on until folks like the Grimms hopped about collecting them.  Says the book:

"The elements that make up the fairy tale genre were all in place before the 1550s: the hallmarks of fairy tales – magic objects and sudden acquisitions of wealth – were not new in themselves. What was different was that rise fairy tales built in the kinds of generalised hopes for an improvement in their lives specific to the burgeoning populations of upward striving young men and women in early modern cities."

All well and good, but it gets sticky when she invokes the Cinderella story.  I mean, talk about a tale you can find in various versions in every single society. I assume that there must be a section distinguishing fairytales from folktales, right? Thanks to Monica Edinger for the link.

  • Editorial Anonymous disappears for a couple weeks then comes back swinging at . . . The Coretta Scott King Awards?  Says EA, "I’m not saying the CSK is not needed any more. It’s still very important to have awards that honor and further efforts to bring people of different backgrounds together. If the CSK wants to focus on the furtherance of black issues, then yes, there’s an argument for that. The way to do that would be to give the award to people of any race who further the understanding of what it means to be black."  Roger Sutton says, "let me just add: after a year in which two of the biggest buzzed books, Kingdom on the Waves and Chains , were by white people writing in the voice of African Americans, let me just say that EA is NUTS to think white writers are excluded from publishing about blacks by virtue of their exclusion from the CSK."  I’m not particularly interested in this debate since it crops up regularly with both sides taking issue.  Allow me to only say this much: When I took a poll from my readers and asked them to list their Top 10 picture books of all time, the resulting 100 Best Picture Books List contained two people of color as either authors or illustrators.  Chew on that for a spell.

  • Collecting Children’s Books reports on the first book I’ve seen to offer a dedication to stellar librarians Kate McClelland and Kathy Krasniewicz.  The book?  If the Witness Lied by Caroline B. Cooney.  And, as per usual, the rest of the post makes for stellar reading.

  • 100 Scope Notes just rises in my estimation every day.  You can tell that I like a blog when it starts to climb the roster on my old Blogger blog.  Just the other day it brought to my attention a great site called Awful Library Books.  You know those old, outdated, horribly mangled, just doggone gross books that clutter up your library shelves?  Yeah.  These guys are on to you.  Say they: "The items featured here are so old, obsolete, awful or just plain stupid that we are horrified that people might be actually checking these items out and depending on the information."  Makes me think of when we were weeding the cookbooks a year or so ago and stumbled on Cooking the West German Way.  I kinda wish we’d kept that one.  Though I will defend the book Those Amazing Leeches to my grave.  Yes, the cover is disgusting, but that puppy gets checked out more often than Diary of a Wimpy Kid.  It’s just that gross and popular.

  • If I see a news item that has been widely posted everywhere, should I mention it as well?  For example, I never quite got around to mentioning who won the Battle of the (Kids’) Books, just because I figured everyone knew.  Similarly, I haven’t made note of the recent Americans who are USBBY nominees for next year’s Hans Christian Andersen Awards (Eric Carle and Walter Dean Myers).  But considering that USBBY should really get more attention here in the States, I must make note of the fact.  It’s a fascinating list too.  Ireland nominated Eoin Colfer as their author and P.J. Lynch as their illustrator.  Switzerland is all about illustrator Etienne Delessert (wouldn’t mind seeing a Seven Impossible Things profile of him someday).  And in the UK it’s David Almond (whoop!) and illustrator Michael Foreman.  Plus a bunch of other folks who are probably amazing but that I am unfamiliar with.  Go look!  Even better, check out this great Kids Lit post, with pictures galore.

  • I was quite taken with the recent Booklights piece, penned by Jen Robinson, describing the Cybils Awards.  I was it’s lovely to look at, sure, but I was particularly pleased by the list of the last three years’ winners.  What good choices those are!  So very nice to see and remember.  Kudos.

  • Crooked House has discovered the potential plot for a YA novel that may never be written yet is GOLD! Sheer unadulterated magnificent GOLD!

  • Daily Image:

Got this one from 100 Scope Notes who, in turn, got it from BoingBoing.

Old card catalog cards. Is there anything they can’t do?  Besides, y’know, catalog books?

About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.


  1. Kristi Hazelrigg says:

    Cooking the Wast German Way? You just brought to mind again one my favorite school library memories of all-time. I will N-E-V-E-R forget the skinny little boy who came into the library every single day, generally choosing huge books on the scale of Order of the Phoenix, books that were bigger than his head, and I’m not sure he could read even one page of any of them on his own. One day I heard him shout from the middle of the non-fiction, “Hey! I been LOOKING for this book!” When he got to the check-out desk and handed it me, I just about died. The book was Cooking the Lebanese Way. I broke my own “let ’em check out whatever they want rule” and said, “Nathan, there is no way you were looking for this book! Why don’t you choose something you’ll enjoy a little more?” Well, he did, I weeded that book on the spot, and now it sits on my desk as a reminder of that hilarious moment.

  2. Fuse #8 says:

    Aww. You should have let him have it. For all we know the little guy might have acquired culinary skills far beyond his years!

  3. That poor kid. I see him condemned to wander the stacks for eternity, always in search of that perfect recipe for Znood el Set. No wonder he was skinny.

  4. kim baker says:

    Betsy, you were missed!
    You were there two-dimensionally, but three-dimensional you just has more pizazz.
    Let that be a lesson to you that you need to make the trip every year.

  5. janeyolen says:

    A book you all would have missed that never got published. A friend of mine became head of Macmillan’s children’s books back in the early ’60s and was weeding some of the mss. her predecessor had bought. One was a nonfiction book purporting to teach children French by using phrases from the Bible. Her favorite: “Bring me a Hebrew nurse.” And can’t you see the child now, standing by a boulangerie, and shouting that out to passers by in perfect French.


  6. Rasco from RIF says:

    Thank you, Betsy, for your comments and particularly your last one in the section discussing EA’s comments. I used part of your interview with Kekla Magoon in a May 21 posting I did on the disturbing achievement gap we have in this country among young students. Thanks again!

  7. “When I took a poll from my readers and asked them to list their Top 10 picture books of all time, the resulting 100 Best Picture Books List contained two people of color as either authors or illustrators.” Don’t you think this says more about your blog readers than anything else?

  8. Fuse #8 says:

    I think it says a lot of things. Mind you, it isn’t as if they didn’t nominate people of color. They just didn’t nominate the same people of color. So what are we to make of that?